My Body Image
I’ve never really had a positive thought about my body until AFTER I had my first son. Oh and I need to lose 100lbs.
Growing up my mother was always yo-yo dieting and when I hit puberty (ugh joy) and gained some weight, I was right away told I was getting “fat” and that I needed to restrict my eating.
Bring forth highschool where I worked for Baskin Robbins and Taco Bell (at the same time) where I had access at no cost a TON of junk food. Also in our high school there were pop and snack machines everywhere so I used to drink a can of coke in EVERY class to keep myself awake.
At this time I knew I was a bit overweight but still had pretty high self-esteem. I felt pretty most of the time, had no problem socializing, and really didn’t think about my weight much if at all.
Fast forward a bit to when I was with Daniel’s biological “father” and all he and his family drank was pop (his VERY diabetic mother as well) so since I liked pop well enough, even though we never really had it IN the home, I picked up that habit REAL quick.
I then became pregnant with my oldest son. When he was just barely a year old I found out his biological “father” had been involved with one or more sexual relationships outside of OUR relationship (we were engaged). I would wonder if I wasn’t thin enough, pretty enough, GOOD enough. Once I kicked him out, within 5 months I lost around 80lbs, naturally. No diet, no restrictions. I felt FANTASTIC. I was healing emotionally and seeing myself as being gorgeous.
A little bit less than a year later I permitted him to move back in with me and regained all of that weight within 4 months PLUS some. I even joke today that he made me fat.
Let’s skip past when that relationship died (thank god right!) and when I dropped 40lbs and met my life partner Keith. By this time, even with my scary stretch marks, my sagging breasts, my c-section scar, and my fatness, and had fairly normal self-esteem.
I then became pregnant with my baby son. Put on bedrest for pretty much the entire pregnancy. Ended up with another awful c-section.
During the pregnancy where I gained NO weight (had hyperemesis from week 4 through the birth), where I was told by family, by the medical professionals, that I was FAT. I needed to NOT EAT SO MUCH, (um remember… hyperemesis? Not eating was NOT a problem). I was told I needed a repeat c-section because I was FAT. Yep super valid reason there right.
Due to that emotional (and physical) trauma, I feel just awful about my body. Granted it doesn’t LOOK any different really. A bit bigger from the weight I gained AFTER the pregnancy.
I look at my belly that contains two scars on it’s uterus and covered in stretch marks and I am torn between being amazed that it housed two amazing little boys and feeling angry that I am told often by society that I am not worth much, that I am “ugly” because I’m not thin.
Going from being overweight in highschool and NEVER having that be an issue to being an adult and seeing all the media thrown at our children by society… it hurts me.
So how do I cope? I eat right, (most of the time anyway), I quit Weight Watchers, I talk about my issues about my body to my boyfriend, and realized that I need to start LIKING myself the way I am now. I may never think my stretch marks are beautiful or feel special when the baby is pinching my fat rolls while giggling hysterically, yet I like to think I have some redeeming qualities somewhere!
Of course, I wouldn’t mind losing that 100lbs either.
This post is over a year old which means the content may be outdated or no longer accurate.
I know what you mean, while I only am looking to lose about 40 pounds, but still I feel the same way and I have had tons of issues with my weight since high school.
It’s crazy isn’t it, how much of our day, our thoughts, can be focused on weight/size.
I haven’t had c-sections, but man I can relate to this post! And I quit doing weight Watchers too…I get so obsessed with couting, etc with that. And you are so right about eating less and less “real food” on that plan! I get it! I am much more relaxed about this stuff than when I was younger, but it’s still hard. I try to focus on eating healthy food (but allowing treats sometimes) and moving as much as possible! Walking lots with the baby in the sling, etc.
Oh yes, I was even saying to Keith today how he can finally eat a BANANA of all things, without feeling GUILTY that it’s two WHOLE points.
I need to do a follow up post to the WW thing.
I can definitely commiserate on some of this. When Joshua and I got married I went from eating barely anything each day to all of sudden cooking dinners and such. That coupled with severe depression and stress I blew up.. literally. I went from 114 pounds to where I am today – 164. It’s never been that I don’t eat right, or rather that my body can’t handle what I eat, I simply gain weight like mad when I’m unhappy or stressed (in which I don’t eat much).
“um remember… hyperemesis? Not eating was NOT a problem”
Heh. Can definitely say that’s very true. Me and HG = emergency room visits for IV fluids from days on not being able to keep down even water. Not fun. I’d love the smack whoever ragged on you for that.
And stretch marks, oh lovely stretch marks. I get them from every day activities like lifting a box or riding my bike. Anything that uses muscles = new stretch marks. And since I’m brown I always look at them and feel like I’m a zebra (since they are paler). I don’t so much mind these days because I know it’s just my body, but I used to be rather self conscious about it.
Great post! Much love. You’re absolutely beautiful and don’t let anyone, even yourself, say otherwise.
Oh yes, love going to the ER because you can’t keep a damn thing down! Actually it was the 1st OB practice I was at that told me not to “eat so much” even though I was consistently LOSING weight at each visit. Go figure.
I didn’t really get any new stretch marks with Tristan, however my pregnancy with Danny TORE me up with them.
Aww thank you!
It sounds like you are on the right track to me. Happiness, support from partners and eating healthy natural foods are my personal favorite way to feel good about my body. I know exercise is important too but this is one area I falter in. It sounds to me that you are still recovering from the trauma of your second c-section? Do you think that might be a factor in being able to accept your body the way it is too? Like, since the c/s’s weren’t your doing, any damage done to your body isn’t your fault? I may be going out on a limb here but I think that that is what I might feel in your position. Because none of that was your fault. Anyway. Wonderful post. I believe that Maman A Droit is linking to it in the next couple of days.
Oh I am still traumatized from the CBAC. Physically, emotionally, mentally.
I get frustrated that I can’t be as physical as I used to be, that my body holds onto the weight more, because at the end of the day my abdomen just HURTS.
Thanks so much for sharing! I think that it’s awesome that you’re learning to be happy with your body the way it is while still working on getting to a healthier weight.(you look great in that pic IMO)
Isn’t it ridiculous how many diet plans actually discourage healthy eating? Like a banana? Totally good for you with lots of potassium, and pretty filling compared to other foods with the same amount of sugar/carbs. But points systems don’t care about vitamins and relative fullness!
Aw thank you! I’ve eaten poorly the past week and a half thanks to my first “real” AF since Tristan was born. Thankfully we are doing our major grocery shopping this upcoming weekend so that will help for sure.
Oh yes. I need to do a post on how WW is PUSHING unhealthy eating.
Yeah, if you pick up a Weight Watchers magazine it’s full of faux food ads! 0 calorie stuff or 1 point things that are supposed to *taste like* this or that. Sigh. That plan works for some people but it always made me miserable. I have prob tried it 50 times! LOL! I have all of the stuff here so I would start and quit all the time. I read a good website long ago about “normal eating” and she compared dieting/restricting to trying to control how much you pee! If you were told you could only pee a certain amount it would be painful physically and emotionally. When you have a relationship with food that has all kinds of limits it’s just as silly/hard. Not eating when you are hungry because you are out of points = about the same as being told you can’t pee anymore because you already hit your limit. Sounds funny but it’s so true when you think about it! I have to really promise myself to not “diet” again! I really want to eat healthy and watch portions and all that, but I can’t do the counting/restriction! Ugh!
YES. I had gotten a comment on my WW entry about how I was spreading lies, how awful I was, how I didn’t “understand” WW, etc. I deleted it (it wasn’t conductive to the post/comments). WW, bottom line, is about money. You have to PAY for membership, PAY for tools, and PAY for THEIR special brand of food products.
Yes things like WW can work (jenny craig, nutri-system, etc) however it’s at the cost of health.
I have to say, I am happy to eat real butter again lol.
i just stumbledupon your blog and this entry made me sad! girl, you need to feel the way you want to feel. if you think you’re beautiful, who cares what anyone else thinks? you are beautiful: and you probably have two beautiful children to show for it!
don’t listen to anyone else. ignore em. you seem to be a better person then that :)
Thank you for the lovely comment!!
I have to say I’ve always had body issues, but OHMYGOD, they were AWFUL after the cesarean. Absolutely the worst I’ve ever felt about myself. I’ve also been up and down, all over the scale. When I started dating my husband, I was actually underweight by about ten pounds – which he found not-so-appealing. He likes girls with meat on their bones, and when he first met me I was a little more healthy looking, so when we started dating he wasn’t afraid to tell me that he preferred it back when I was eating (it was actually a breakup and a ton of stress that caused me to drop so much weight – not a diet…. but I have to say I was starting to look more like a coke-whore than anything.)
2 years after we started dating, I had a cesarean, and was sporting more weight than I’d ever had in my life – along with a scar. I never had any stretch marks, but the scar itself was enough to make me feel like my body was worthless. That’s when I did the Weight Watchers and Spark People and Jazzercize, and ultimately, stayed miserable for much of that year.
Then something amazing happened to me after my VBAC. All the sudden, I didn’t mind the weight on me. I didn’t find it repulsive anymore. I felt like all that weight had come for a reason and my body had done something awesome because of it. I haven’t felt the need to diet since then. My weight has gone back down to around normal now (taking 2 years), and I’m okay with how I look – baby sag and all.
Now – I certainly do NOT feel like the sex kitten I was before I had kids, but I’m also not in the deep dark hole that I once was – so that’s progress. I wish we could all find a way to feel good about our post-baby bodies, but I don’t think there’s any good answer. It’s something deeply personal that a woman needs to decide for herself. Sometimes not even the most complimentary partner can help a woman’s self-esteem if she’s feeling bad about her appearance.
Yes exactly! With Daniel I didn’t suffer from the depression I have now about the c-section even though I was treated badly, it was a bad experience, etc. I think partly I held onto “I WILL have a VBAC with the next baby” and when THAT didn’t happen even though I went through so much more physically/mentally/emotionally this time around and was treated as though I was just a incubator for the baby.
I wish my brain could go back and function like it used to heh.
I also had 2 c-sections.
And while I’m not exactly happy with the “pouch” directly above my c-sec scars (which you can’t really SEE… its just that the surgery did some weird things with the skin/muscle/shape), I don’t think the surgeries specifically caused negative feelings I have about my body.
I don’t know where those feelings came from, but I don’t love what I see in the mirror. And I wish I could lose 10 pounds.
Yet, I never have the motivation to do so. Why? And why it is I want to lose 10 lbs anyway?
Its like I have this pre-pregnancy ideal in my head. It’s not me at high school (that would be more like 20 lbs), but me right before I got pregnant. Just makes me wonder why I feel a certain way my body WAS is better than my body IS right now? I’ve never felt I had difficulty with food or eating habits… though I can always do better. And I can certainly do better with exercising. But if I don’t do better…
Brings me back to why this dissatisfaction with where I AM. I feel like if I can just get to a place where I’m appreciative of how my body looks NOW, getting to where I’d like to be will just be a natural process. If I can appreciate me, appreciating change (instead of anticipating it & shaming myself when I don’t get tehre) will come naturally.
Thanks for sharing.
Yes this. I never had HUGELY negative thoughts about my weight until AFTER I had my first son. I also never had any positive thoughts until I had him either. Go figure.
I couldn’t have said it better myself. I need to live in THIS body NOW, rather than put all of my desires/hopes/what-if’s on when “I’m thin”.
Beautiful post. I wholeheartedly agree. I, like you, have left all weight loss programs behind and have just been listening to my body. Am I hungry or am I (insert emotion here). It’s so weird to actually feel hunger, but it’s good.
Oh yes! It’s so weird to DETACH the emotional aspect when it comes to food isn’t it!
Great post! I’m turning 50 this year, and I’ve given up on pursuing the ideal body I thought I had to have.
No more skipping carbs, no more exercise…
I’m just content with the way I look:)
Yes! We all have to somehow LIKE our current self.
Health is multifaceted. You’re putting GOOD THINGS into your body instead of crap like WW demands, and with two children you can’t NOT be active. Your body may have more pounds than you like, but focusing your energy elsewhere is healthier! You need your mental and emotional health too, and so do your kids. You’re moving in the right direction. Also, you’re a beautiful person (internally and externally) judging by the little I know of you from this blogsite. Don’t forget that!
Thank you so much, this is what makes blogging so awesome! It’s hard to find support locally for the most part, my area can be very mainstream.
Hi! I’m feeling your grief. I did RE join WW this past Feb. and have lost 28lbs. It really makes a difference in the clothes I’m able to wear, which in turn makes me feel (a little) better about myself. Then people are always ‘commenting’ that I’ve really lost a lot of weight! (not a lot – but enough to make me feel better). I’m a lot older than you, and I fluctuate like a yo yo. Today is ‘weigh in’ day…and now that I’ve hit my set goal, I’ll soon be a ‘lifetime’ (free) member. Weight Watchers is easier than it used to be. The ‘Momentum’ way lets you eat all sorts of things. Seeing myself in photographs (fat pics) helps me remember ‘why’ I’m wanting it to work. I could take a turn for the worse…again…but for today….just for today…I’m doing it!! Good Luck! and…my husband LOVES me either way!
I stumbled here thanks to TFB. Although I haven’t had c-sections, I can understand how you feel. I remember all through high school wanting to lose 5lb at least, and of course, now I’d give anything to be back at my graduation weight. My weight gain finally settled down in my late 20s, just before I got married. I still wanted to lose 15-20lbs, but I had people that loved me who had never known me skinnier, so I was getting to be okay with that. My weight stayed pretty consistant through 3 kids (I did have a new-to-me doctor poke me in the belly when my second was 4 months old and comment that I still had my “winter weight”!), but about 2 1/2 years ago, it suddenly went up nearly 15lbs. None of my usual things worked, so I gave up for awhile and got depressed about it. I’ve re-started the battle after learning about high protein/low carb and Gary Taubes’ “Why we Get Fat” book. I’m hoping things change now. I’m feeling okay about myself right now, but still wish I could get back to where I was 3 years ago, LOL!